Goodwood is proud to announce that the exceptional career of John Surtees – to this day the only person to win World Championships on two and four wheels – will be celebrated at this year’s Goodwood Revival, taking place over the weekend of 6-8 September. 2024 marks 60 years since Surtees won his Formula 1 World Championship, and would have seen the eight-time World Champion celebrate his 90th birthday, this coming Sunday, 11 February.
Reflecting a truly extraordinary motorsport career – which included seven motorcycle World Championships between 1956 and 1960, the 1964 Formula 1 World Championship, and the 1966 Can-Am Championship – the tribute to John Surtees will include everything from 250cc, 350cc and 500cc motorcycles to Grand Prix winners, unlimited sports cars and GTs. In April, the 81st Members’ Meeting will assemble an incredible array of Can-Am cars, Surtees having won the inaugural championship with his eponymous team in 1966.
Two icons cross paths
John Surtees is a key figure in the annals of Goodwood’s unique motorsport history. It was at Goodwood that he tested a car for the first time, in 1959. The following year, it was here that he made his four-wheeled debut in a Formula Junior Cooper, racing for Ken Tyrrell, at the 39th Members’ Meeting in March 1960, finishing a close second to none other than Jim Clark.
That 1960 season was remarkable. Having taken part in his first race on four wheels in March, he made his F1 debut in May, scored his first podium with second place at the British Grand Prix in July, and his first pole position at the Portuguese Grand Prix in August! All while fitting in around his two-wheeled commitments, where he won the 350cc and 500cc World Championships for MV Agusta!
First Festival of Speed
In 1993, Surtees became a Patron of the very first Festival of Speed, utilizing his extensive contacts to organize the motorcycle classes for the event and riding his 1952 Vincent up the Hill. Returning to race at the early Goodwood Revivals, ‘Big John’ entertained a new generation of Goodwood motorsport fans, as fiercely competitive in the RAC TT Celebration as he had been on the Circuit during its heyday.
Shortly after his passing in March 2017, the 75th Members’ Meeting paid a moving tribute to Surtees, on the anniversary to the day of that first race in 1960, with a minute’s noise reverberating through the paddocks and The Duke of Richmond leading a commemorative lap in a Team Surtees Lola T70. We now look forward to honoring the remarkable achievements of an enormously talented driver and rider, as well as the life and legacy of a great friend of Goodwood.
Doug Nye, motorsport historian, co-founder of the Festival of Speed and friend of Goodwood, said: “John Surtees was simply unique. Despite having spent my entire adult life amongst such ultra-competitive racers as Stirling Moss, Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart and many more, he was the most competitive personality of them all! He won motorcycling World titles seven times, and the Formula 1 Driver’s World Championship once. On a motorcycle, he was magic to watch, just man and machine merged into one – while in a car, he took no prisoners yet was still visibly a master – a total perfectionist. From first sampling a racing car at Goodwood in 1959-60 he became one of our first Festival of Speed Patrons in 1993. He was – on two wheels and four – a total star.”
Duke of Richmond
The Duke of Richmond said: “As an eight-time World Champion and the only man to achieve the honor on both two and four wheels, John Surtees was not only a huge figure in the history of the Goodwood motor circuit but also played a big part in the establishment of our modern events. Along with Stirling Moss, John was a Patron of the Festival of Speed and was deeply involved from the very beginning. More than anything, he was an exceptional racer and a great friend.”